During a press conference Jan. 11 at Gillette Stadium, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, "This is a move that we mutually agreed was needed at this time."

While this "conscious uncoupling" was completely expected by Patriots Nation, it nevertheless will take a minute to let it sink in that Bill Belichick is no longer a part of the organization. Belichick is leaving the Pats after 24 years as head coach, including six Super Bowl wins.

Think about this: When Belichick started as Patriots head coach, we were sitting on aluminum benches in one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL. He departs from Gillette Stadium, a facility surrounded by a state-of-the-art shopping center and a stadium packed with modern amenities, including the biggest screen in North America.

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There are three faces on the Mount Rushmore of the Patriots dynasty: Kraft, Tom Brady and Belichick. As of today, two of them have now moved on, but how exactly did Bill Belichick end up here?  It's an interesting story.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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On Jan. 3, 2000, Bill Parcells resigned as head coach of the New York Jets and Belichick (a Parcells disciple) was immediately hired as his replacement. A press conference was called for the following day. Little did the Jets know that Belichick was about to do them dirty.

Bill Belichick's Napkin Changes Everything

The future Hall of Fame coach woke up and chose "savage" the morning of Jan. 4, 2000.

As he approached the podium to be introduced as the Jets' new head coach, Belichick grabbed a pen and a napkin and scribbled a note:

"I resign as HC of the NYJ."

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yup, Belichick quit what would be many people's dream job by passing a note written on a napkin. Talk about bold. What would make Belichick leave this job after less than 24 hours and pack his bags for Foxboro? Why did Belichick decide to coach the Patriots instead of the Jets? It was a decision that would alter not only the course of his life but also the history of the NFL.

Persuaded by Robert Kraft

ABC6 Sports Director Nick Coit said the answer is simple. "It was Robert Kraft." The Patriots owner had worked with Belichick while Parcells was New England's head coach. Belichick was the defensive coordinator, and Kraft apparently liked what he saw and heard from the monotone coach. Kraft was willing to do whatever it took to recruit him to run his football operations.

Six Super Bowl championships later and the rest, as they say, is history.

Kraft admitted during the announcement of Belichick's departure that it would be difficult to watch Belichick on the sidelines wearing the hoodie of another team next season, but that he'll still cheer for him (unless his team is facing his beloved Patriots).

No word on what happened to that famous napkin, although it deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So does the coach.

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